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CD-ROM Review: 'Living Jazz'

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There’s a certain subspecies of gear-head attracted to a particular subgenre of jazz. The guys absorbed in the show-off mechanics of computers (the most memory, the highest speed) often drool equally over the show-off mechanics of contemporary electric jazz (the newest synth, the fastest guitar solo). They love gearhead artists like Herbie Hancock, and they’ll like Living Jazz, which was coproduced by the pianist’s company. Though slick and expensive looking, it’s glibly superficial — and as formless and sloppy as a fusion jam. Intended as a lively primer to jazz and its history, Living Jazz includes three separate bios of Miles Davis, but none of Ben Webster, Cecil Taylor, or even one male jazz singer. A film clip of Cab Calloway warbling ”We the Cats That Shall Hep Ya” is projected in reverse. But hey: It all works really, really fast. C+

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